Point five (with ten to go) of J.C. Ryle’s “Warnings to the churches”:
5. CONTROVERSY IN RELIGION
“Controversy in religion is a hateful thing. It is hard enough to fight the devil, the world and the flesh, without private differences in our own camp. But there is one thing which is even worse than controversy, and that is false doctrine tolerated, allowed, and permitted without protest or molestation.”
False doctrine tolerated is worse. False doctrine tolerated is worse? Wait just a tolerant Calvinist minute. Something seems amiss here. Hey! Who are you and what have you done with Mister Ryle? Come on now! Out with it!
“It was controversy that won the battle of Protestant Reformation. If the views that some men hold were correct, it is plain we never ought to have had any Reformation at all! For the sake of peace, we ought to have gone on worshipping the Virgin, and bowing down to images and relics to this very day! Away with such trifling! There are times when controversy is not only a duty but a benefit. Give me the mighty thunderstorm rather than the pestilential malaria. The one walks in darkness and poisons us in silence, and we are never safe. The other frightens and alarms for a little season. But it is soon over, and it clears the air. It is a plain Scriptural duty to ‘contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.’ (Jude 3) I am quite aware that the things I have said are exceedingly distasteful to many minds. I believe many are content with teaching which is not the whole truth, and fancy it will be ‘all the same’ in the end. I am sorry for them. I am convinced that nothing but the whole truth is likely, as a general rule, to do good to souls. I am satisfied that those who willfully put up with anything short of the whole truth, will find at last that their souls have received much damage. Three things there are which men never ought to trifle with, –- a little poison, a little false doctrine, and a little sin.”
Oh, I am quite sorry Mister Ryle. I thought you were somebody else. Here, let me help you up. There, there, now. I surely didn’t mean to startle you like that. It was a common tolerant Calvinist buzz-phrase — “their souls have received much damage” — that clued me in as to your true identity. You are in fact the real Mister Ryle.
“I am satisfied that those who willfully put up with anything short of the whole truth, will find at last that their souls have received much damage” (J.C. Ryle).
Other common tolerant Calvinist buzz-words are “deady” or “lethal.”